If there is one thing I’m particular about, it is the length of my overcoats. I like a full- length overcoat that extends below the knee. Not only is it warmer than the more popular knee-length or shorter overcoat, it also has a more elegant and ‘dressy’ silhouette. Also, I prefer a cotton-polyester blend single-breasted trench-style coat with a warm zip-out lining over the more traditional wool overcoat. Finally, I like a suede collar as a stylistic touch, preferably removable. Coats of this type were far more popular over two decades ago when men dressed more formally for business. Hmmm … Can I find the exact coat I want in time for the upcoming fall/winter season, in my size, at a good price, second-hand?
Yes, I can! In fact, I found two overcoats, and paid less than $26.00 in total for both!
The first coat I purchased is shown in the photo above. Made in the 1990s, it is a cotton/polyester blend single-breasted trench with a warm tartan plaid zip-out lining. It extends about two inches below the knee, with a trim, beltless silhouette. It has the essential button-in suede collar. I paid $14.00 for this coat in like-new condition on Poshmark.com. In this photo, I am wearing a wool fedora I’ve owned for over ten years ( I replaced the ribbon last year), and a vintage Totes scarf.
The second coat (shown below) is a lighter weight single-breasted cotton/polyester more suited for fall. The styling is a bit more fashion-forward, extending a bit more than three inches below the knee. It also has a button-in suede collar. I purchased this coat second-hand on Poshmark.com for $11.00 in excellent condition.
Although the care label on both coats specified dry cleaning only, I machine-washed them in cold-water with a bit of shampoo and Awesome Oxygen Base Cleaner (a generic version of Oxiclean). Cotton/polyester blends generally do not shrink when cleaned this way. I removed the suede collars before washing and used a bit of white vinegar on a clean white cloth to clean them. Finally, I ironed both coats with a steam iron on the polyester heat setting (using a pressing cloth to avoid fabric shine). After that, ready to wear!
The virtues of second-hand clothing! For a very modest investment of $26.00, I have two well-made overcoats that should provide years of service! Brooks Brothers sell similar trench overcoats for over $500.00 (in shorter lengths that are more in fashion right now). Because both coats have conservative styling, they will also look appropriate for years to come.
If you are the market for an overcoat, be sure to check out eBay and Poshmark.com. You may also some overcoats at your local thrift shops. You cannot beat the value of a second-hand better-quality overcoat. -SplurgeFrugal!